What only He can do

“Trust God to do what only He can do.”

For over a year, that’s the reminder that has shown up on my phone every day at 2:00pm.. or 8:00pm when I was in Spain last summer, or 1:00pm when I am in Nashville with my family. I set the reminder over a year ago when I was in a situation that burdened me and felt totally over my head and out of my control. I longed to see change come about but was incapable of affecting that change. I could do nothing but carry on, be present, and trust that the Lord would accomplish what I could not. So I trusted God to do what only He could do. So now, every day I’m reminded to trust God. It’s a reminder to mentally relinquish to the Lord what I can never do because I am human. It’s a reminder to trust God to be God. It’s a reminder to live and work and strive but realize I must trust the result to God. I’ve been reminded that there are things that only he can do. Every day the reminder applies to me differently.

When working with children in situations so broken I can do little more than hug them and carry on. I smile and wave as I watch them go inside their home, and then weep and pray over their hearts. I cannot help them in the deep places where they need peace. So I love them, and trust God to do what only He can do.

When I’ve lost control of my idea of my future, or at least come again to the realization that I never was in control. I can’t know what’s coming. I don’t know if I’m making good choices. And I want to make my plan happen. Some days I sit in anxiety and worry. Then I realize there is Christ, who knows how I tick and knows what’s coming and is the only one who actually writes my life story. So I make loose plans, expect God to act, and trust God to do what only He can do.

When I’ve woken up on the wrong side of bed, and nothing is wrong with the day except me. I think nothing good of anyone. Nothing goes well and I don’t want to thank God for any of it. I need eyes to see him in the shimmer of leaves and in the face of the Kroger cashier. I need ears to hear him in the wind and in my friend’s voice. So I ask Him to help me see Him where He already is, and I trust God to do what only He can do. 

When people I love are hurting, and words of comfort and peace only go so far. They need the other kind of peace. The kind that encircles and guards our hearts and minds even though our minds can’t understand it. So I ask God to give what only He can give, and I trust God to do what only He can do.

With children so obstinate and ornery that my blood pressure rises and my face reddens and I lose my temper. Even if I can curb bad behavior, I cannot affect change in their heart. Actions flow from the heart, and the Lord is the only one who can change the heart. So I try to control my temper, and trust God to do what only He can do.

When my heart breaks and the best I can do is gather up the pieces and shoddily piece it back together, only to repeat the process again the next day. I sit in my brokenness and give the pieces to the only one who never changes. So I ask Him to help me learn and grow and heal, and trust God to do with my heart what only He can do.

When the goodness of life is too sweet to be true and my heart bursts with joy and thanksgiving and anything else I can think of. What Brene Brown would call “foreboding joy” follows quickly. “This is too good to be true,” my mind says to me. “It won’t last.” I push back against my mind and decide to sit in joy. I whisper thanks to my Creator. I shout gratitude, and I thank God for doing what only He could do in my life.

When I don’t desire to be redeemed or made pure, and don’t even desire my Savior. I struggle and try and fail and take small steps. I give unedited commentary on my thoughts and feelings to the God who can take it, and ask him to rewire my deepest desires. So I want to want Christ, and I trust God to do what only He can do.

When I’ve spent longer than intended on applications and I want them to be perfect and I want to appear perfectly so I will be chosen. My mouse hovers over “submit” for fear that one line is wrong or one sentence is out of place. I remind myself that my future is not in my control, and it’s better that way. So I do my best, click submit, and trust God to do what only He can do.

When I realize the ugliness of my heart. How could beauty come from ashes? Because the God-man Christ Jesus is capable of doing what only He can do: inclining my heart to respond to him, gently loving me, and making beauty out of the ashes of my heart. So I trust God to do what only He can do in my heart.

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